News: Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman have launched large-scale project on decentralization U-Lead with Europe in Vinnytsia
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Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman have launched large-scale project on decentralization U-Lead with Europe in Vinnytsia

56565656565.jpgOn September 15, Vinnytsia gathered heads of regional state administrations of most regions of Ukraine, heads of regional offices for reforms, representatives of united local communities, a number of international organizations (GIZ, DESPRO etc.). EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and the enlargement negotiations Johannes Hahn and Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman presented the draft program “U-LEAD with Europe: Ukraine Local Empowerment, Accountability and Development Programme.

Decentralization in Ukraine is gaining new momentum. The government together with the European Commission launches ambitious new project to support local government. New EU program “U-LEAD with Europe started in Ukraine, on which the European Commission allocates more than 100 million euros of financial assistance. The funds will go to decentralization reform in Ukraine until 2020. During September, 4 cities of our country held the presentation of the program to the general public. According to its initiators, the effectiveness of reform depends on the combined capacity of local communities in Ukraine with the support of reform offices and regional development agencies to adapt to new forms of management of urban and regional development. The EU program is ready to implement potential laid to the basis of reforms with the involvement of international experts to strengthen the new principles and forms of governance in a constitutional reform.

The first city for the presentation about the details of the program “U-LEAD with Europe” became Vinnytsia. Participating in the presentation were heads of RSA of 18 regions of Ukraine, representatives of united local communities and reform coordinators of regional offices and representatives of various international organizations working on projects of international technical assistance to Ukraine.

“This project, which begins today, is more than 3 billion USD, and it aims to support local government, provide new knowledge, and implement new infrastructure projects to increase the capacity of communities. This process has begun, and no one can stop it. Today, the central government has an absolute political will to transfer powers and resources and, implicitly, responsibility. I believe that this reform will change this country, and I wish all of us to be successful on this way. I want to tell you as someone who initiated this reform – I will fight every day for the success of this reform, to protect decentralization. With your support we will receive joint success,” said the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman.

“We have gathered today to launch a vast program that suggests that we will support Ukrainian reforms,” said EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn. “I remember how it all began. A few years ago when we first met with Mr Groysman in Brussels, I was still Commissioner for regional policy, and we were discussing how we could contribute to genuine decentralization policy in Ukraine.” According to the European Commissioner, from 2014 Ukraine has made significant progress: decentralization already allows local budgets get finance and appropriate money for social structure, education system, health care system, but we need to use new features and continue to provide new competences to local authorities.

Johannes Hahn said that the implementation of the program “U-LEAD with Europe” will be made by joint efforts, and added: “Our project includes Germany, Denmark, Poland and Sweden, we coordinate our efforts with the United States, Canada and Switzerland. The general amount of the assistance is more than 100 million euros. Our partners will work with the Ukrainian authorities in order to increase the skills and knowledge of elected representatives, administrative staff, to improve financial management, transparency, public involvement system, increasing the capacity of ministries in cooperation with local authorities. And finally, at the local level we will create new opportunities, so they can use international resources.”

The handler for “U-LEAD with Europe’ program is the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ Ukraine). The overall goal of the program is to contribute to the creation of multilevel governance that is transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of the population. It consists of two main components: improving the institutional development of the authorities at all levels for effective implementation of decentralization and regional policy, and creating more than 600 centers of administrative services and ensuring the active participation of citizens in local development. Priority will be given to voluntarily associated communities.

Presentation of U-LEAD with Europe ended with the signing of the Memorandum between Ukrainian associations, the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine and GIZ project on creation of the Center of support of local government.